2. Increased revenue hurts Vols more than helps
Revenue sharing from the SEC may increase Tennessee football’s value. It doesn’t help the Vols’ competitive edge. In fact, it reduces the edge, as it rapidly increases the value of other schools without the revenue of UT. We’ve seen this over the course of history.
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In 1996, the SEC’s original TV deal with CBS went into effect. At that point, UT had just expanded the North End Zone and had the largest stadium in the nation. That allowed them to recruit at a high level for two more years and win back to back SEC and national titles.
However, as the revenue from that TV deal kicked in, other schools caught up. They increased their stadium sizes and spent big money on elite coaches, not just hiring within the family. That’s how the Nick Sabans and Mark Richts of the world arrived and iced the Vols out of any SEC title since 1998. It just started with them.
After 2000, the SEC became the exclusive programming on CBS and inked a bigger deal. Well, 2001, was the last year they finished in the top five. In 2008, the league signed a 15-year deal with ESPN while keeping its CBS deal and expanding with the SEC Network. UT hasn’t had a 10-win season since 2007.
These things aren’t coincidences. The more money flows into the conference, the more it evens the playing field, and the less Tennessee football can exploit its one advantage, which was always revenue. Adding the Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners will explode that revenue even more with the new ESPN deal coming, and UT will continue to suffer as a result.